Billy and I sit huddled in someone’s yard behind the moss green electric box, frozen, but not because of the mountain of snow piled around us or the blistering cold. Neither one of us can believe what just happened. It’s been only four hours since we set up watch outside of Anastasia’s house and, while we knew Lincoln was getting irritated that we hadn’t gotten access to her laptop yet, I could have never believed he’d take it this far. Now we’re staring nervously at the hole in the side of the house and I feel as though I’m waiting for flames or some kind of explosion. What if he dies? What if he hit Anastasia, or Sawyer, or Kavanagh and one of them dies? I was told she would suffer, that she would lose Grey and that she would finally get to feel some of the pain she has put me through. I didn’t sign up for this.
“Fuck it’s cold,” Billy says, shuddering next to me. “If he doesn’t get them out of the house in the next twenty minutes, we’ve got to get out of here. We’re not going to make it long out here without my car.”
“Is that seriously what you’re worried about right now?” I hiss.
“Leila.” The voice crackles as it comes through the satellite radio in my hand, and for the first time I feel a real sense of foreboding when I hear it. With a calming breath I push a frozen finger down on the intercom button and bring the speaker up to my mouth.
“H-he’s in,” I stutter through my chattering teeth. “N-no sign of A-ana-st-tasia yet.”
“Get. Me. That. Laptop,” he says firmly.
“We will.” There’s no response so I let the radio fall to my side again and then try to wrap my coat tighter around me.
“I think it actua-lly might be t-too cold to snow,” Billy says after a long few minutes of silence. “Everything is just f-freezing now, including us. We should go.”
I look up at the blanket of clouds above us, which are still shocking white even in the shroud of night. This storm isn’t over yet, it’s only just starting.
“They can’t st-tay in there forever. There’s no power, they don’t-t have heat, and the house isn’t going to prot-tect them anymore. They have to leave soon.”
“Then we’ll come back.” He grabs my arm and pulls me up, but just as we stand we see a dark figure trudging through the snow towards Anastasia’s house.
“Get down,” I hiss.
We both throw ourselves to the ground and it’s actually painful when my hands sink down into the wet snow. It’s too cold. I think I might be going into some kind of shock.
“Jesus Christ, who the fuck is out walking right now?”
I glare at him. “We just drove a car into the side of a house. It’s probably a neighbor checking to see if they’re okay.”
Billy puts an arm over me and pulls me into his side, trying to huddle up as close to me as possible so we can keep warm, but it’s no use. I’m not sure what the temperature is but it has to be single digits at this point, and with our jeans in the snow and our fingers exposed to the cold, biting air, our teeth start chattering so loudly I’m afraid Sawyer will hear it from inside the house half a block away.
“I’m getting impatient,” Lincoln’s voice says through the radio again, but this time it’s Billy who reaches for it and answers.
“We’re going back home. They’re not leaving the house and Leila and I are going to freeze out here. We’ll come back in the morning.”
“In the morning?” Lincoln repeats, and there’s a new dark quality to his voice that seems to make the temperature around us drop a few degrees more. “I can’t do anything with the morning.”
“Wait.” The sound of a door slamming closed echos up the street at us so I risk a peek over the top of the electrical box and see two people huddled together, wading through the snow down the street. Neither Billy or I even dare to breathe and in the dead silence of the snowy night, I can hear the voices of the two women as they make their way back to the house across the street.
“Almost there, Ana. There’s a fire inside.”
“Anastasia is out,” I whisper softly down to Billy, then wait with bated breath for three or four more minutes until Kate and Sawyer come out of the house with Hyun’s unconscious body being carried between them.
“Fuck, is he going to be okay?” Billy asks.
I shake my head. “I don’t know.”
“What’s going on?” the radio crackles again, and both Billy and I cringe. Thankfully though, neither Sawyer nor Kavanagh look our way. They must not be able to hear us over the sounds of their own panting as they struggle with Hyun’s weight and the slippery snow and ice beneath their feet.
“They’re out,” I tell Lincoln once we hear the door to the neighbor’s house close. “They’re in the house across the street.”
“Luggage?” he asks.
“No. They didn’t take anything with them.
“Then go get me that laptop.”
Billy and I look at each other, he switches the radio off, puts it in my backpack, and finally moves out from behind the electric box. I follow him as quietly and swiftly as possible, worrying the entire way that we’re going to be caught. This is so stupid, even with the street lamps off from the power outage, the snow is so bright beneath us that our dark clothes make us easier to spot, not harder. With every sound we hear crossing the street and jumping the fence into Anastasia’s backyard, I’m certain we’re going to be caught.
We aren’t though. Billy helps me over the fence and then there’s nothing in front of us except the tall dark house which conceals us from the street.
“Stay in my footprints,” he warns me. “We’re going to have to cover them up before we leave.”
It’s slow going and extraordinarily difficult to move as carefully as we need to through the deep snow. Each step we take is meticulously calculated, and just as much as he has to reach back to help me while I place my foot in the hole he’s left behind, I have to help him move forward. By the time we get to the back door, we’re both sweating beneath our coats.
“Moment of truth,” he says, and then reaches out for the handle on the sliding glass door. Amazingly, it opens easily. They forgot to lock it between the chaos of the storm and Hyun’s diversion.
“Well that’s good luck,” Billy says with a smile. I narrow my eyes at him.
“As if we couldn’t get in through the giant gaping hole in the side of the house. Go!”
We’re both careful to knock as much of the loose powder clinging to our clothes and boots off as possible while we come into the kitchen but the moment we close the door behind us and turn towards the car still making small clicking sounds in the middle of the dining room, we have to cover our mouths and noses with the sleeves of our jackets. The air is thick with gasoline fumes and it makes me nauseated and dizzy all at once.
“Let’s go,” I tell him. “The faster we find the luggage, the faster we can get out of here.”
He nods and motions me forward around the car into the living room and, as luck would have it, there are three large suitcases there waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
“Which one belongs to Steele?” Billy asks.
“The pink one is probably Kavanagh’s,” I say, wrapping my hands in the cuffs of my sweatshirt as I push it aside so I don’t leave fingerprints. “And I’d say it’s more likely that Ana has the purple bag than Sawyer.”
He kneels down next to me as I pull the zipper around the exterior of the luggage and then lift the lid. It’s mostly clothes, which makes going through the bag more difficult as they’re not neatly folded and we’re trying to do everything with our hands covered by the sleeves of our undershirts, but eventually we find the laptop in a zipped inside pocket.
He takes the laptop from me and glances around for somewhere to work, but with the fumes still hanging in the air we ultimately decide we’re going to have to do what we have to do upstairs. There’s one door open, which is one less thing we have to touch, so that’s the room we choose. But as Billy sets up at the desk and starts pulling out the power sources, hotspot generators, and other hightech gadgets that go way over my head, I realize that this is Anastasia’s room. Her walls are littered with pictures of her with Kate, or Sawyer, or an older man who I don’t know, but, for the most part, Grey is absent. In fact, the only picture of him in the room at all is on her nightstand. A framed 4×6 photo of the two of them holding drinks and smiling at the camera on a beach, probably from their Hawaiian vacation last fall.
I have to stop myself from reaching down and picking up the photo to get a better look. We’re not supposed to leave behind any trace of our presence, so instead I kneel down and look at it as closely as possible without touching.
God, he’s so beautiful.
Seeing him this way, looking so light and happy, doesn’t fit with the memories I have seeing him every day in the office, but it’s nice. I can imagine myself in this photo with him, that it’s because I’m next to him that he looks this way. I wonder what it would have been like to be the one he whisked off on long, romantic vacations in paradise? Does he like to go out and explore? To hike, or zipline, or snorkel in the crystal clear water of the sea? Or is he more of a sun lounger on the beach kind of guy? A smile crosses my face as I picture that, being stretched out under the warm Hawaiian sun on a fluffy towel draped over my chair, while he rubbed suntan lotion into my skin and whispered about all the inappropriate thoughts touching me was giving him. Perhaps he would even fuck me there, in the middle of the public beach where everyone could see, not caring because part of him loved to be staking the claim.
My eyes move to the bed on my left and I bite down on my lip as I think about how this is where he fucks Anastasia when he’s in town. He’s been naked in this bed and just thinking of that makes me want to strip out of all of my clothes and roll around in the sheets. What in this room has he touched? Perhaps he has clothes here, or a toothbrush?
I glance over my shoulder at Billy, but he’s plugged into the laptop and not paying any attention to me, so I move over to the closet door across from the bed in search of a souvenir. Unfortunately everything in here is Anastasia’s. He doesn’t have spare socks or underwear in a drawer and when I go into the bathroom, I don’t find an extra razor, toothbrush, or even a bottle of shampoo that I could be sure was just for him. Going through the cabinet under the sink and finding only tampons, extra shaving cream, and a box with over the counter cold medicine and tylenol in it has me thoroughly deflated until I stand, glance over the counter, and see a pair of silver cufflinks on a plastic container made of drawers. When I pick them up to examine them more closely, I find that one has a small letter C engraved into the otherwise smooth metal, and on its match is a G.
These are his.
Warmth rushes through me as my fingers tighten around them and I pull my closed fist up to my lips to kiss them. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. A connection to him. Something tangible for me to hold onto and to keep with me. I’m practically giddy over finding something so personal and easy to take, but as I uncurl my fingers to look at them again, the door opens behind me.
“What are you doing?” Billy asks.
He narrows his eyes at me. “Well let’s clean up and get out of here. It’s cold as shit and I want to be home before the next wave of the storm hits.”
I nod and stuff the cufflinks in my pocket, then find some Clorox wipes under the counter and both Billy and I get to work. He’s in more of a hurry than I am at making sure that no one can tell we’ve been here, but that’s why Lincoln insisted I come along. I have him wipe down the laptop and the desk he was working on while I clean the knobs on the closet and bathroom, and all of the handles on Anastasia doors. When it’s time to leave the room, I send him out first so I can sweep over the carpet to get rid of any footprints we’ve left behind.
He’s already outside by the time I get down the stairs and I almost just leave with him, but I notice he didn’t zip up Anastasia’s suitcase when he put the laptop back. I do up the bag myself, scan the living room and dining room, and clean up the water footprints by the door before I finally step back out into the frigid night air. From there we tread back through our footprints, covering what we leave behind, jump the fence, and take off through the alley toward his apartment.
“You should stay here,” he says when I turn to leave him at the front door of his building. “It’s freezing and your apartment is at least two miles away. Besides, once it starts snowing again, you’re going to be stuck until the emergency crews come and that could be days. You sure you want to do that all by yourself?”
I too look up and frown. He’s right about the cold. My body is already stiff and sore from being out here so long already and I don’t know that I have another two mile walk in me.
“Yeah, thanks,” I tell him.
He takes me upstairs and gives me some of his clothes since we’re both wet from being in the snow all night. Everything he has is way too big for me, but just having something dry against my skin does make me feel a little warmer. His apartment is only one bedroom, so he brings out extra blankets and a pillow for me to crash on the couch, and then we both sit down with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bag of chips. Without heat it’s hard to stay warm, but we make do with the small fire we build in a big metal pot out of old newspapers and popsicle sticks.
“I keep expecting Grey to come knocking on the door,” I admit. “For some reason, I feel like we’re going to get caught.”
“No one saw us,” he says, tossing another stick on the fire. “Grey would have to know exactly where to look to find the tunnel I built and with the shit Lincoln is going to feed through it into the server, the only guy who would find it will be gone by Monday. Trust me, your guy is going to be so pleased with this job he’s going to give us a permanent gig.”
“Only if you’re more careful. You forgot to zip up Anastasia’s bag. It would have been a dead give away someone had been in there if she went to pick up her suitcase and all of her stuff fell out on the floor.”
“Why am I responsible for closing it? You opened it.”
“But you put the laptop back in.”
“No I didn’t.” At first, his words are defensive, but off handed. The moment he hears them out loud though, his mouth goes slack and his eyes widen. “Fuck, no I didn’t.”
“What do you mean no you didn’t?”
“I-I cleaned it but I didn’t put it back. I left it on the desk.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?!”
“No. Shit, what do we do?”
“We have to go back!”
“We can’t go back. That’s a three mile round trip and it’s only getting colder. We can’t keep traipsing around outside all night, people die doing shit like that.”
“And when she goes home and finds her laptop on her desk instead of in her suitcase down-fucking-stairs?”
“I mean… what are the odds she’s even going to notice? It’s been a crazy day with the storm and Hyun… She’ll probably think she just forgot to pack it.”
I huff and look at the door, unsure of what to do. I really don’t want to go back outside again. Without my body heat against the wet fabric, my jeans have frozen and all I have to wear now is this baggy pair of sweats. I’m getting hypothermia just thinking about trudging through the snow like this. Besides, going back only increases our chances of beings seen. Suppose a neighbor thinks we’re breaking in or looting and somehow contacts the police, or worse, Grey. What if Sawyer comes back to get Ana’s things? No, going back isn’t a good idea, but neither is doing nothing.
“We’re going to have to tell him,” I say quietly.
“Him?” Billy repeats. “Wait… you mean, him?” I nod, and he starts shaking his head. “Are you crazy?”
“He’s going to need to prepare, just in case. Otherwise, all of this was for nothing.”
“He won’t pay us if we do tell him and then all of this really will be for nothing.”
“And if we get caught, who’s name do you think he’s going to give to the police?” He opens his mouth to argue, but can’t say anything. So, eventually, he nods to my backpack across the room where the satellite radio is still tucked away. I pull it out, flip the switch to turn it back on, and take several long seconds to prepare myself for whatever reaction I’m going to get before finally pushing the intercom button.
“Lincoln? Are you there?” Nothing. “Hello?”
Billy gets up and takes the radio from me, and after examining it for a moment and pushing a few different buttons, he shakes his head.
“Great. What do we do now?”
“We… wait until the roads are cleared. Grey is going to get her out of here the moment he can. Hopefully, she doesn’t look through her bags before she leaves and once she’s gone, we go through the house and take the laptop and some other obviously valuable stuff. She’ll think it was just a burglary. The tunnel is built in her GEH profile, we don’t need the laptop anymore.”
“Unless the laptop being stolen makes Grey check into her profile and he finds what we’ve done.”
He frowns. “Then we leave it by the door. Drop it or slide it under something so it looks like it got left behind. It explains why it wasn’t in the bag, but since the laptop never made it out of the house, he wouldn’t have any reason to think it was gone through.”
I take a deep breath, not fully satisfied with the plan but not having anything better to suggest myself. Billy goes back to the fire, trying to keep it going, and motions for me to come sit next to him again so we can keep warm together, and for the rest of the night we perfect his idea until we’re both absolutely certain the plan is foolproof.
The power doesn’t come on the next day, or the next. By Monday, we’re down to living on cold cans of chili and dry ramen. No snow plows have made it through the city yet, so we’re still stranded and we’re so bored out of our minds that we’re constantly at each other’s throats. On Monday night we’re fighting with each other so loudly, neither one of us hear the knock on the apartment door until the person on the other side starts banging against the wood.
We freeze and look nervously at one another. Is it Grey, or someone who works for him? Were we not as careful as we thought?
Billy grabs a metal bat from behind the door in his bedroom and walks cautiously towards the door. “Who is it?”
“It’s Kommer, open up.”
“Kommer?” I repeat, confused. “He’s supposed to be in Seattle. How did he get here?”
Billy shrugs and opens the door, and when the severe looking man steps inside, I feel a weird sense of dread. Like I’m in a mob movie and the Don has just sent his goon.
“Hyun was released yesterday, we’ve got him. You two need to come with me.”
“Is he okay?” I ask.
“He’s fine. Get your shit and let’s go. I’ve got a chopper waiting downtown.”
Billy and I glance at each other and I wonder if he’s thinking the same thing I am. Heat. Glorious, healing, wonderful heat, and food that has been cooked.
I hurry though the door out into the hallway and follow Kommer as he leads us out of the building onto the street. For the first few blocks, I don’t even care that the air is unbearably cold against my legs under the billowy sweatpants I’m still dressed in. But soon, that cold seeps into my bones.
“Where are we going?”
“Marriott,” he says and then stays quiet for the rest of the long walk to downtown Cambridge. Once we get to the hotel, we go up the service entrance all the way to the roof where there is a helicopter and pilot waiting for us. Kommer takes my hand to help me inside, then climbs up front. Billy takes the seat next to me, and after the pilot has closed us both inside, we’ve harnessed ourselves in, and slipped a pair of headphones over our ears, the pilot finishes his pre-flight checks and we rise slowly into the air.
Perhaps it’s the fresh wave of heat coming from the vents in the cockpit, or maybe just the relief of finally being out of Billy’s apartment, but rising off the ground and flying into the night feels as though a weight has been lifted off of me. Like I’m escaping from prison or a horrible nightmare. But after a half-hour passes, I realize, I have no idea where we’re going and I’m not wearing the type of headset you can use to communicate with the pilot.
I turn and tap Billy’s shoulder to get his attention. “Where are we going?”
His brow furrows and he points to his headset, signaling he can’t hear, so I slow the words down and over annunciate, hoping he’ll read my lips. He must understand me that time, because he looks away through the front windshield with confusion, then turns to me and shrugs.
The flight lasts a total of 2 ½ hours, but the bad weather means I have no idea if we’ve gone a long distance or we’ve just had to fly more carefully. When we step out of the helicopter I don’t recognize any of our surroundings and I don’t see any signs giving a hint to where we may be. The only thing I see is a car waiting not far away from the airfield where we’ve landed.
“Let’s go,” Kommer says.
We follow him to the car and he gestures for Billy and me to get in the backseat while he moves around to the front passenger’s side. I’m far too busy looking around through the dark windows for any kind of indication of where we may be to be too concerned with the driver, until Kommer gets in the car and leans over to kiss the woman sitting behind the wheel.
“Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes?”
“I’ve missed you,” she whispers between her near ravenous attack on his face. They continue making out for several minutes, and as the woman’s breaths and moans become more and more desperate, the empty space surrounding Billy and I become more and more awkward.
“Umm… where are we going?” I ask, and finally the woman pulls away and rounds on me. She’s beautiful, really beautiful, but I’ve never seen her before.
“Why don’t you just relax, huh? I wouldn’t be in a real big hurry to get where you’re going anyway.”
She doesn’t answer. Instead she turns back to the wheel and shifts the car into drive. Billy shoots a look across the seat towards me, his eyes wide and nervous, and as I let the meaning behind her words sink in, my hand slowly shifts to the handle on the door. When I pull it, nothing happens. The child locks are on.
“Where are you taking us?” Billy demands, but neither of them respond. The woman turns on the radio and signals to get on the freeway, while Kommer kicks a leg up on the dash and starts scrolling through emails on his phone.
“Grey’s got her back in Seattle now,” he says. “I just go the GEH security email. Ryan says Grey’s been out of work all week.”
“I know. Elliot went to meet the plane when they got back. He’s barely called me since then, which I bet has something to do with Kavanagh. I swear to god if that little whore ruins all the hard work I’ve put into this loser…”
“Well, I can’t say I’d be disappointed if you had to stop fucking him.”
She looks away from the road, and gives him a soft, pleading glance. “We talked about this, Anthony. He’s our way in. Dating Elliot means I’ll have access to security codes, clearance to get into Escala, invitations to vacations and weekends spent on the boat. Grey will never be out of our sight.”
“I could get us those things without you having to open your legs for another man.”
“Not until you get out of GEH security and into personal security. We all have our jobs, baby. You work on Taylor, I’ll work on Elliot. At the end of this, you and I are never going to have to work again.”
He nods. “Yeah. Yeah, I know that…”
“And I love you. I only love you.”
“I love you too.” He leans over and kisses her gently on the cheek, then finally glances back at Billy and me. “Ten more minutes.”
Eventually, I’m able to glean enough information from signs and buildings to deduce that we’re in Albany, though why, I’m still not sure. There does seem to be power here though, which is exciting, until I realize we’re driving right past the city and into a more industrial looking area that’s much less populated.
“Where are we going?” I ask again, more nervous now.
“Here,” Kommer says. The woman pulls into a dark alley and kills the engine outside a heavy metal door set in a nondescript brick wall. He turns to smile at both of us. “The boss has a surprise for you.”
I swallow, suddenly feeling a swift rush of terror. He knows about the laptop. He has to know about the laptop. How did he find out? What is he going to do?
“Don’t say a word about the laptop,” Billy hisses the second Kommer and the woman driver are out of the car. I don’t have time to answer him though, because my door opens and Kommer reaches inside to pull me out. The woman waits to escort Billy behind me, and then we’re both pushed through the door into a dimly lit open space that looks a lot like a warehouse. The only thing that gives me any kind of peace as the heavy door closes behind us is the number of people in the room. I recognize a surprising number from GEH, including Jack Hyde, a guy who I remember from the few times I met with Elena Lincoln, Isaac I think his name was, and Hyun, who is sitting in the center of everyone on chair looking weak and exhausted.
“Hey,” I say, coming up and kneeling next to him. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” He nods and then looks tentatively around at the small crowd of people around us. They’re all talking amongst themselves, speculating what’s going on from the sound of it, so he leans in close to me and speaks softly into my ear.
“He saved my life. Grey. They said if I’d have gotten surgery even a few hours later, they wouldn’t have been able to save me. I-I… don’t think I can do this anymore. No amount of money Lincoln has promised us is worth what we’re doing to the man who is the reason I’m here today…”
“Which is exactly why we’re here,” a voice rings loud and clear through the open room, echoing off the walls and forcing everyone to fall silent. I rise to my feet, turn toward the direction of the sound, and watch as Andrew Lincoln ambles carelessly towards us. The crowd parts as he moves, as if his importance is the equivalent to the power of God against the Red Sea. He stops a few paces ahead of us then begins circling Hyun’s chair, like a shark.
“I’ve brought you all here today because you’re all very important players in this little game we’re playing. It’s a bit like domino’s, you see. Each and every one of you is a piece who has a part to play in the whole. As long as you do what you’re supposed to, we all stand tall. It only takes one weak link for the chain to break. One domino topples in the line and we all fall. Now, I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not ready for this game to be over yet. I’m not quite ready to fall.” He stops in front of Hyun and narrows his cold gaze in on him. “So you feel indebted to Grey, do you?”
Hyun swallows. “Yes. I do. He saved my life and I can’t in good conscious continue to help ruin his. I’m sorry, but I’m out.”
“You see, that’s where you’re wrong,” Andrew continues. “There is no out.”
The room falls dead silent. No one moves. No speaks. No one even dares to breathe until a shrill jingle breaks the tension.
“Sorry,” the woman from the car says, reaching for her purse and digging through its contents. The irritation apparent on Lincoln’s face is chilling. “It’s Elliot.”
Lincoln takes a breath, but waves to her and as she holds her finger up to her lips to tell everyone in the room to stay silent. She answers.
“Hey, baby. Nothing. Just catching up on Gossip Girl and enjoying a face mask. What are you doing? Oh… tonight? I’m sorry, I wish I could, but my bestie is coming over and we’re going to have a little girl’s night. Lunch tomorrow? Perf. And, do I need to bring anything to your parents’ house on Thursday? Awh, babe. You’re so sweet. I’ll see you tomorrow? ‘Kay, bye.”
She hangs up the phone and then turns to Lincoln. “We need to hurry this up, I have to get back to Seattle.” She then turns and shoots a smug look at everyone in the circle. “I’m spending Thanksgiving with the Greys.”
“You see, this is commitment,” Lincoln says. “This is the dedication I need. That you all signed up for. Not. This.” He turns back to Hyun, who cowers slightly in his chair.
“Look, I’m not going to say anything.”
“No, you’re not. But you are going to do something very important for me tonight. You’re going to show every person here what happens when they stop being committed. You’re going to show everyone what happens when they start to feel like maybe Grey isn’t so bad after all.”
“What do you—” Hyun’s voice cuts off as Lincoln reaches into the back waistband of his trousers and removes a pistoL. Hyun’s eyes grow wide with fear and he begins to tremble. “Okay, okay. I changed my mind. I’m in. I’m very dedicated. Whatever you need, I’m your guy.”
“Ah, that’s very comforting to hear, Son,” Lincoln says. “But… what kind of lesson would that be?” He pulls back the hammer to the pistol and Hyun jumps out of his chair to run, but Kommer has him in the next second. The woman picks up a rope and brings it to him, and after Kommer has fully tied up and subdued Hyun, he tosses him carelessly to the floor.
“Anytime any of you think about talking to someone or not following through with what I’ve asked you to do, I want you to remember this. I want you all to remember that none of you are alone. Someone is watching you, and anyone who comes to me with news of someone’s dishonesty or disloyalty is going to be rewarded. The person who has double crossed me, well…” He raises the gun and points it directly at Hyun.
“Wait, no! Please!” he begs, and for a moment, I think the look of sheer terror on his face may have actually gotten through to Lincoln. He hesitates, then lowers his gun, and Hyun starts bawling uncontrollably.
“This isn’t right,” Lincoln says. “This isn’t how this should go.” He lets his arm fall to his side, and then he turns back to the woman standing next to Kommer.
“Gia, my love. I think it’s time you got your first.”
“Yes. Come here. Help your father.” She stands there for a moment, gaping at him, and his look of proud adoration falters. “Unless, you’re not as committed as you say you are.”
“No, I am!” she says quickly. “I am.”
“Then come here.”
Her shoulders rise and fall as she takes a deep breath and then slowly moves towards Lincoln. He gives her the pistol and then places a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “Just like I taught you.”
She nods and then faces Hyun. Every muscle in my body tightens as I watch her raise the gun and then hear the horrified pleas that start bubbling out of the boy in front of her. He begs for his life, but she doesn’t seem to hear him. Kommer puts him on his knees in front of her, facing away so she won’t have to look in his eyes, and she squares up, adjusts her grip on the gun, and halfway through one of Hyun’s desperate, sob broken sentences, she squeezes the trigger.
The gunshot echoes loudly through the open warehouse and I scream as I’m standing close enough to Hyun that the blood splatter hits me across the face. My ears are ringing and my entire body goes cold. Shock sets in.
Hyun is dead.
Lincoln murdered him right in front of me. Right in front of all of us.
Gia is still. The gun still held up in front of her as she watches Hyun’s body slump to the floor, and in the next second Lincoln is on her again, wrapping her in his arms. “How does that feel, baby?”
“I-uh…” She’s stammering, so he turns her away from the body and forces her to look into his eyes. “You did well, Gia. I’m very proud of you. How do you feel, sweet girl?”
“Powerful.” Her voice is only a pale echo of a whisper, but every person in the room can hear her just as clearly as they would have if she’d yelled it. Lincoln’s face lights up.
“Yes. That’s good. Remember that. Use that.” He hugs her tightly and I watch a strange kind of emotion cross Gia’s face over his shoulder. A kind of pleasure that’s sickening and terrifying. When Lincoln pulls away, he smiles again and kisses her lips. “So pretty.”
She beams, then slips the gun back in her father’s hand before returning to Kommer’s side. He doesn’t look as comfortable with what just happened as Lincoln or even Gia herself does, but he opens his arms for her all the same, and when she squeezes him around the middle, he kisses the top of her hair.
“Anyone else having feelings of remorse or second thoughts?” Lincoln asks, scanning the crowd. No one replies, no one even moves, and it makes him smile. “Good. Then we shouldn’t have to come here again. Although, I’m sure my darling daughter could use the practice.” He pauses, and glances proudly back at her again. “Just remember, we’re always watching. And I don’t give second chances.”
He slips the gun back into the waistline of his trousers and turns away, and there’s a mass shuffle for the door. I stand there, frozen in disbelief as I stare at Hyun’s body. I thought we were going to be yelled at, have our pay taken away, maybe even be given a few extra watches as punishment for the laptop. I never expected this… and this didn’t even have the possibility of getting him caught the way our fuck up did.
“Let’s get out of here,” Billy hisses, yanking on my arm. I nod and turn to follow the flow of people, but am stopped when I hear Lincoln’s voice calling my name.
“Leila, dear. Come back here please.”
I stop, but Billy doesn’t. He glances back at me but unapologetically continues his way out of the room, and I stand there helpless until it’s just me, Lincoln, Gia, and Kommer left.
“Come here, sweetheart,” Lincoln says, and I have no choice but so swallow my fear and turn back to him.
“You’ve had a rough couple days in Cambridge. I’m so sorry.”
“Oh, that’s okay. I’m fine.”
“I know you are, because you are a strong young woman and I applaud you for it. But, all the same, I’d like to do something for you. We’ll keep you here for a few days, in a suite in a wonderful hotel. Any restaurants you want to go to, any shopping you’d like to do… just charge it all to me. We’ll fly you back to Cambridge once the clean up from the storm is over.”
“Really? Uh… thank you.”
“Of course. Just as I punish those who defy me, I reward those who are loyal. You are loyal to me, aren’t you Leila?”
I nod furiously. “Yes. Absolutely.”
“Good, because I know very well that your grudge is against Anastasia, not Christian, and I know very well how you feel about him. So, going forward, I want you to remember today. I want you to think about this every single day.”
“I won’t be a problem, I promise. I am committed to doing what has to be done, I swear. Grey is nothing to me. He deserves this. They both do.”
“That’s all I want to hear.” He smiles and turns again. “Gia, let’s get Leila here set up at the Renaissance. She’s spent the past few days being very cold, make sure she’s comfortable.”
“And Kommer, take care of that.” He motions to Hyun’s body. “Leave his body in his own car, but not here. I want Grey to think it was necessary to conduct the violence elsewhere so that he won’t heighten security around Cambridge. Anastasia is the most important piece of my plan and I don’t want to make Leila’s job any more difficult than it already is.”
Linc winks back at me, then turns to leave the room, and I’m left to help Gia and Kommer dispose of a body. To wrap it in plastic and store until it can be returned to Cambridge where his car has been left. From there, I have no idea what they plan to do, but I resolve as I’m finally put in a car and taken to the swanky hotel in downtown Albany, that I’m never going to let that be me.
15 thoughts on “Leila PoV: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You… Who Are You Kidding? This is Going to Kill You.”
This is some serious cold blooded sociopath behaviors being displayed by Lincoln Gia and Kommer.
He really didn’t care about anyone!!! Lelia was willing to hurt Anastasia, just like Elena has always wanted to hurt thinking they could get Christian, Lincoln and Gia was heartless they both got they deserved it the end
There were SO many Gia/Andrew ICK factors in this one, let me tell you. AND that crazy apple doesn’t fall far from the even crazier tree.
And I have to admit, you really wonder about Gia’s relationship with her father, and how she ended up the way she did. While Gia was CLEARLY motivated by the 10 million, she appears to have a deep-seated need to earn her father’s approval. And let’s face it, they both appear to be psychopaths and maybe sociopaths as well.
AND you even wonder about Andrew’s “so pretty” comment and the way Gia responds. Sounds like Elena may have married a man that turned out to be JUST like her own father regarding abuse. BUT Gia’s response to said abuse seems to be entirely different from Elena’s–she seems to crave the attention. Talk about traumatic bonding. (Insert major shuddering here.)
So Gia’s family background most likely warped her like it did Elena. Although considering her origins, Gia never did have much hope of turning out all right. AND Andrew being coward enough to make his DAUGHTER do the dirty work of shooting the guy. HOWEVER, part of that is Andrew knowing that now that Gia has gotten her hands “dirty,” it lessens the likelihood that she will turn against him, since she is now guilty of murder.
The Gia stuff was so overpowering that you almost lost sight of the fact that this is an Outtake from LEILA. And I have to say, when comparing Gia to Leila, Leila comes off FAR less evil. Yes, Leila wanted Ana hurt emotionally and suffering and separated from Christian. But she did NOT want anyone dead. Leila unfortunately agreed to become part of something that was SO MUCH bigger than her. BUT she is NOT innocent, since she had to know going in that bad stuff was going to happen to multiple people that did NOT deserve it.
But this Outtake shows you WHY people were so afraid to talk. AND where Andrew implied that everyone was being “watched.” And you see just how many people he had under his thumb. Isaac and Hyde were at this meeting, and you really wonder what Isaac did after said meeting. He HAD to know at that point what he and Elena were likely facing.
Tara, will we find out how Leila was caught later in an Outtake? I always assumed that Leila got caught trying to warn or get her parents to safety. After all, Andrew knew all about their location, as it was an “excuse” used for Gia being where she was. And Leila would KNOW that Andrew wouldn’t hesitate to go after them.
No, I don’t have the outtake about how Leila got caught. I always assumed Andrew got her pretty quickly though, because Taylor wasn’t able to find her. So she never got pulled over in a stolen car or boarded an airplane. Perhaps they had someone watching the hospital, knowing Ana was hurt in the scuffle and would need to have the baby checked out. They couldn’t go after Ana, too public, but they could follow Leila.
THat makes the most sense, though, if someone WAS following Leila, you would think said people would intervene BEFORE Ana got into the hospital. Still, Andrew might have made specific orders that certain observers were ONLY to observe and report back in rather than intervene and risk getting caught. AND I think Andrew would have had reason to question Leila’s loyalties by this time anyway. After all, everyone she had worked with previously had ended up dead by that time. She couldn’t have doubts left about what WOULD happen to her.
And the “Just watch, don’t act” thing was the job of a lot of people in the conspiracy. Kommer, for example, was one of Ana’s CPOs. He had her alone, without Luke or Christian, on several occasions. But Kommer was always the most valuable to Lincoln as a way into Escala, or really just a way to keep tabs on Ana, Christian, and the rest of the Greys at all times. So, Kommer wasn’t allowed to touch her.
I’m sorry Leila got killed. She obviously had no idea what she’d gotten herself into until it was too late. I’m sure she had no idea murder was part of the plot; just money and breaking up Christian and Ana. Leila was not anything like Gia. I think even Christian would have forgiven her after she saved Ana.
I love the outttakes, Tara, and certainly want to hear Carla’s twisted thinking to tell Christian Calliope was dead. And what did ALL the Greys think when they found out Kate was the organ donor?
Looking forward to your new book, too! Thank you for such a wonderful story.
Leila is one of those characters that could have turned out so differently had she not been so immature and selfish in how she handled her “heartbreak.” AND since she never even had Grey to begin with, her actions were so far beyond the pale, especially for someone she claimed to have “loved.”
Leila NEVER took time to consider the possible CONSEQUENCES for her actions, such as when she filed her lawsuit, alleging things she KNEW weren’t true. She just wanted revenge and was angry for finding out that she had zero chance of attracting Grey. AND she naturally ASSUMED others would see things her way, such as approaching Andrea to try to get her to lie for her.
Sadly, had Christian sought his OWN revenge for Leila’s actions and filed a defamation or libel case against Leila after she was proven to be a liar, Leila might not have been in a position to be used by Elena and Andrew. Instead of being grateful for not being treated worse than she was, Leila just became MORE motivated for revenge, choosing to align herself with a total stranger, believing Andrew ONLY seemingly wanted some sort of revenge that did not involve killing.
But Leila chose to be deliberately naive in signing up for a revenge plot and not really caring or wanting to know the details of the plan until it became PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that far more than simple economical or incidental “revenge” was planned. Only THEN, ONCE AGAIN, does Leila realize that she is in FAR over her head. AND that so much MORE is to come out of this.
SO you can’t feel sorry for Leila. She signed on to something without caring to know the details. I think Leila would have most likely gone along with the plan, even when she realized JUST what horrible things awaited Anastasia, had it not been for the pregnancy. Even then, Leila thought she could somehow get out of it all. But still, Leila is AT LEAST no Gia.
I think while Linc targeted individuals that had access to Ana and Christian including their inner circle for their whereabouts etc while someone like Leila was so blinded by her misguided hatred for Ana and though this outake showed she still loved Christian by kissing and stealing his cuff links she still wanted to punish Christian for never choosing her and making her fantasies come true. However, clearly even Leila realised before Hyun was killed she was in over her head as she really freaked out over the laptop and to me I felt she knew Linc was capable of pure evil before Hyun was killed and that any insubordination had gone beyond the realms of ‘normal’ punishment. When I look back at Hyde for example though he was blackmailed into helping the ‘cause’ if you will I think that anyone who dared to say no to Linc would be automatically punished or killed we just didn’t realise how far Linc would go for his revenge and as Elena said in prison there is nothing in the world that would possibly stop him. This outake was brilliant because it gave me that true sense that once you were in you never could leave and it reiterated Linc didn’t care who died I clung himself going on what we know as long as Christian suffered it’s all wanted. I’d like to think that I would say no to any amount of money fullstop even if I was just asked to spy on someone for god knows what reasons because I see it as morally wrong that whole attitude no harm no foul how do you know? – But I think if someone like Linc approached you and given how we now know how he operated perhaps you wouldn’t have a choice to say no? As much as I have made my obvious annoyance at Mia’s repeated stupidity once she confessed to what she knew the fact is when someone is threatening you to keep your mouth shut you do it especially when they semd you ext messages of photos of a gun pointed at your mothers head and know things about you every move and again as much as Mia’s actions were annoying she is a teenage girl at the end of the day and we were all teenagers once and thought we knew it all even if we didn’t rebel like she did, it she was also spoilt and incredibly naive for her age – imo a definite product of her environment. Question how did Hyan and this Billy guy become involved? What did Linc have on them besides offering them money? While Leila had her reasons to want to destroy Ana and Hyde had no choice as he was being blackmailed because of his illicit penchant for young girls but as he had opportunities to get close to Ana which Linc of course used. It just opened the questions well for me on how I judged characters based on what I knew of them at the time but essential how easy it is for us to all judge (but that’s what the comments sections is for right 😉) but why so many people helped Linc by keeping either their mouth shut (case in point Mia and Carla) or those who willingly helped in the promise of something whehter it was money or the offer of something like Linc offering to help Carter get into Harvard Law, or they were forced to help (Hyde and Elena as examples). As I am going to reread this story over and over which is what you tend to do when it’s a brilliant story but I know I had forgotten certain things as I had posted in the first outake for example if Elena actually did die and then Gia confirmed it there is a lot of information to process when you get over excited in a story. This outake helped in explaining that Linc was prepared to take his time because he had to otherwise people get sloppy when they’re rushed and know they’re doing the wrong thing hence why Leila was terrified that if she didn’t tell Linc about the mishap with the laptop. I think he was able to drag it out for so long because he knew he needed to study people and find their weaknesses and that everyone has a price even if you think you would never help someone like Linc out in the first place. Being a psychopath he enjoyed and liked the idea of prolonging the torture knowing that he knew Christian had no idea who was behind it all as he had so many people on the inside obviously Kommer and Gia, while he obviously an endgame in place but in order for that to happen he needed a cast of thousands who were prepared to help and not everyone did so just for money – Leila.
It’s hard to feel sorry for anyone who helped Linc even those who thought they didn’t have a choice and even when some of these people realised they had a conscious after al i.e Hyan not because he was killed or because he realised Christian effectively saved his life I think Hyun realised he was helping someone for money to hurt someone (Christian) that he had no reason to hurt in the first place as unless I missed it Hyun didn’t have an connection to Christian at all it was just a pay check. However, he did agree to help someone for money for me this is a moral deal breaker. I know there is some fancy tale I think about sleeping dogs and fleas I could add if I could remember it correctly but basically when you get into bed with criminals don’t be surprised when they turn on you because you decided to do the right thing or you breathed wrongly. But it brings me back to someone like Carla – well done on that whole storyline btw. I still never liked Carla but I do believe that she was trying to help Ana because despite some of imo the bad parenting choices Carla exhibited over the course of Ana’s life for example choosing men over her own daughter. I think the letter Carla wrote to Ana said it all and how scared she really was. Of course we all hated Carla and what she did to Christian in the hospital and it was unforgivable, it still gives me shivers that she would do that despite how scared she was, I think it’s easier to forgive and let slide once someone is dead but Carla like Mia should have opened her mouth as soon as she knew it wasn’t just some run of the mill ‘crazy’ as she put it in her letter, the difference is Mia is a child and Carla was an adult. I didn’t really comment a lot on the whole Carla dying saga but it opens the doors for moral discussion on what is the right thing to do when someone effectively is not joking that they could kill your child unless you help them and do as your told and even if you tried and failed you will still end up dead, but in the end we all know it got het killed instead. I guess this chapter really brought it home on how Linc was able to get people to do what he wanted like it had always occurred to me but this chapter reiterated to me that the reason Linc was as successful as he was for so long is that there are other reasons wrong or right why someone would effectively be helping him achieve his goal. It has only really occurred to me the depths of how unhinged Linc really was and it wasn’t about the money it was the fact he felt Christian was responsible for every misfortune in his life when actually Christian was a victim and nonetheless a child and yes it was wrong what he did on the stand to get the start up money but essentially he was still being emotionally abused. Whatever happened after in terms of losing his company it was done above board, even Linc acknowledged that Christian saved all his workers from the unemployment queue. I know you will address everything about Linc at some point but in this outake Leila made the comment when Linc walked in and they all parted like he was God and the Red Sea (great ananlogy btw). Linc obviously has a God complex and he forgets while Elena was having sex with an underage boy who could have been their son, he too was off having sex and voila Gia and I wonder if any other long lost Lincoln spawn will make an appearance. But while he blames Christian for the end of his marriage he too was do8ng exactly the same thing and wasn’t Gia’s biological mother very young?
Having said all of the above I feel that Leila knew she was going to die even though she said at the end of the outake I can’t let that ever be me and I think she knew she had crossed a line into something that was bigger then her because of the way Linc spoke to her, he knew as much as Leila hated Ana he also knew she deeply loved Christian regardless of actions to the contrary but if a miracle occurred and suddenly Christian turned up on her doorstep confessing his love for her – Leila would help Christian in a heartbeat, blind Freddy could see that and Linc certainly knew that. The very ‘public’ killing of Hyun was obviously a warning to those who knew of Linc’s involvement but I think almost everyone has their weaknesses where they won’t cross certain lines. Except if your a psychopath with nothing to loose. Once Leila knew what Linc had planned for Ana and as much as she hated what Ana represented because let’s face it anyone that had Christian’s heart was always going to be on her shit list even she couldn’t be a part of Linc’s master plan after Hyun, while she was still stuck on the laptop issue and thought they were going to be yelled out or not paid it, she had seen firsthand what even just a word of telling Linc no would get you. I guess when you know your going to die maybe it’s time to do the right thing and that’s why she helpe Ana in the attempted kidnapping. I hated Leila and everything she did in terms of the court case and sexual harassment suit but this outtake you got the glimpse of how desperately in love she was with Christian and right from the start though she did choose her own path Linc prayed on the emotions of weak and angry girl who needed psychiatric attention- the girl was practically a bunny boiler!
Though we all we know Hyde was being blackmailed he didn’t want to hurt Ana, he even said it when he went to attack her he didn’t have a choice, well he did but he was obviously scared shitless of Linc, his drinking was obviously a result of Linc’s blackmail and not because he dint get the job well,maybe a little but if I was asked to kill my boss’s girlfriend I’d be hitting the bottle too and his cryptic words to Ana at the GEH party was to me on reflection a way of wishing Ana just would leave Christian then he wouldn’t have to be involved so trying to appeal to her independent side was his way. As much as this Hyde character is nothing like the original in terms of a grudge it was a genius move on your part Tara to implant the idea that Ana through Christian had taken away the job he was meant to get when actually he was hoping she’d put in a good word for him. Plus we don’t know how the exact details of what he did behind closed doors other then he liked rough sex and preferred that they were young, we never knew for sure unless I am mistaken that he was actually a paedofile? I had always wondered whether he liked young girls wrongly or rightly as a fantasy and had been a customer of Elena’s and when Linc approached Elena or made her help him he needed people who could get close to Ana and what better way than a work colleague no one would suspect him as direct threat? So what if the girls had of age but again in order to be able blackmail him I wonder if Linc through Elena found some underage girls and used this to blackmail Hyde?
Though this is Leila outtake I am just putting together how it was possible for Linc to have access to all these people especially those who worked at GEH to help Linc, if there is one thing we do know is Christian while a tyrant paid well and his employees were generally loyal but when Elena hatched the plan to turn Welch and Ros against Christian and who else because Elena had up until Ana’s return a lot of access to GEH and the plan was to get prey on Christian’s abandonment issues and unfortunately there will always be people out there whether they are work colleagues who just hate the fact that a 20 something Ivey league drop out is a billionaire despite how he got the money to start GEH he worked hard and gave all these people a job but jeloousy is a curse as they say and people like Linc and Elena are birds of a feather they play into people’s insecurities. Even though it was Chistian who put his name on the line to make GEH a success even he wasn’t immune to the dressed tall poppy syndrome!
Have to agree with ToriK this outake and the relationship between Linc and Gia was absolutely spine tingling cringe worthy. While money seems to be the obvious motivation for Gia’s actions on the surface there is that creepy undercurrent of seeking Daddy’s approval at no matter what cost, it was diabolical to read but yes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, it would seem that while we all thought she wanted to bang Christian and she did but not for the reasons we were all led to believe the fact she was so conniving and could be so blatantly sexual with Elliot while not only being in a relationship but with someone who must of witnessed her I am sure having sex at some point with Elliot. Tara will you write or give us some incite into background of Gia and Kommer’s relationship and how it came to be? It’s obvious they loved each other and while you detect Kommer’s annoyance at Gia having to spread her legs literally to help Daddy and the $10 million that awaited the completion of their respective roles it must have taken the sting out of her effectively whoring herself for money and Daddy is her pimp, but gee you got to really love someone to let that be an acceptable part in all of this. I get some couples do the open relationship thing but this wasn’t about that. It’s almost like when they were discussing her relationship with Elliot in the car on the way to the warehouse like they were discussing the weather and the possibility of rain affecting their plans for the weekend. I know your not going to write everyone’s angle but you have given us some perspective/information in the comments on different roles I would love to know just a bit about their relationship and how Kommer’s role originally played out. That ‘so pretty’ comment and the kiss on the lips was just an absolute OMG moment for me. It really delves into that whole nurture over nature question because I don’t know it’s seems that Gia’s adopted parents treated her fine but maybe the reason she went searching for her biological father as I’ve heard some kids who are adopted never feel they fitted in even though they were adopted to parents who loved them case in point Christian but to know where they came from – I think she went searching because her adopted parents weren’t psychotic enough for her!
Brilliant chapter I know I rave on but you open up so many questions and I am absolutely fascinated by the psychology of people’s motivations in life and at what point when someone crosses the lines of where their morals deserved to judged even if your reading a fictitious character just because someone thinks they are doing the right thing or that they think they have the right to hurt people based on perception of you hurt me so now I am going to hurt you. All actions have consequences. Just because you don’t mean to hurt someone or you believe you’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean it is right. Even looking at some of the characters who are essentially ‘good’ people in this story their own attitudes to right and wrong have caused a lot of damage to the people they love because they think their way is ‘right’ ‘or the I am only doing this because I love you and you will thank me for it later when you realise I am right’. It’s easy to hate on people like Elena, Linc and Gia etc because it’s easy to hate someone when their actions are so blatantly self serving but everyone in this story like in real life have made decisions where they think they are doing the right thing and it couldn’t be further from the truth.
I am also quite obsessed with philosophy and what happens when one is forced to facce moral dilemmas in life. This is a story that brings out a lot of the questions where I would judge someone’s morality I am not religious and I don’t hate anyone for having faith either just so we are clear but knowing right from wrong is a huge thing for me in life as it is I suppose for a lot of people. However, who decides what is right or wrong and at what point do you excuse someone and their actions because they didn’t get everything they thought they were entitled to or they were given not the best hand in cards when they were growing up so what does it make it ok to do bad things. Elena is a good example of being dealt a shitty hand and even though she made it out of that hell, it still continued to follow her until the only family she had left were killed, tragic I sympathise, though I love fifty shades I’m not into the BDSM stuff personally but do I think she should have been judged for it of course not, she entered into a lifestyle that is meant to be consensual and I admire that concept in any relationship, all relationships including non-sexual ones should be about respect. However, even in non-BDSM relationships people break the rules – it’s called domestic violence and women are just as capable of breaking those rules as men. it sounded like when Elena was introduced to BDSM she saw it as a way out of poverty and never having to go without again. Though it sounded like all the Dom’s Elena had been with treated her like shit not respecting her safe words but given the circumstances of her younger years in her mind at least this time she would be paid to suffer abuse but that’s not real BDSM is it? Real BDSM is meant to be about respecting your partner and their limits and that’s not something she never did when she was with Christian, it wasn’t just the fact of his age while that is disturbing in itself, it was the type of sex she performed on him it was abuse, sex should never require a trip to the emergency department or being beaten so badly you pee blood for days and it should never be about forcing your partner to do things they don’t want to do. I guess I am bringing it up is because no matter if you have been wronged in life for real or you think you have been wronged in life like Linc did and Leila because in her depraved mind she was meant to be with Christian it doesn’t give you a green light to hurt someone and then suddenly go oops I made a mistake. Even though Leila helped Ana in the end her original intentions were to hurt her. Given what happened to Ana when Caliopee was born all of these people including Leila have blood on their hands, I may not know much about what happened for Ana to almost die to the point they wanted to turn the machines off and her baby being born prematurely but all the stress that they caused her I am pretty sure contributed to it. I digress this chapter did bring a lot of things out for me because I always do think that even when people do bad stuff they must be suffering from some mental instability and I get having a broken heart might make a girl do some crazy things but it’s not like they were ever together and Christian never gave Leila an inkling that they were anymore then just his employee. I guess there are layers of psychotic behaviour in then protagonist of your story but in the end Leila still chose to be involved with these people and it’s not like hadn’t tried to ruin Ana and Christian off her own bat originally, but when she failed she involved herself with people who were happy to kill I am glad of course she made the right decision to help but it was to little to late for me but I do love your incites to these characters.
Again love your story I can’t sing your praises enough Tara I love these particular outtakes I was a bit meh on them for the previous stories not because they weren’t well written but they were just an extension of what could have been included in the story itself but wasn’t really necessary for it to make story feel complete, it’s was like the directors cut if they could make a four hour movie instead on 90 mins if that makes sense. However, these outakes are seriously vital to us as readers as we try and make sense of what really went on and to get into the guts of who, why and how’s that really need to be addressed and I think will set up the final installation (I am 😭 at the reality the end is really a reality) but what happens to a family after such a traumatic event has taken place, even though lots of good has come as a result, to me it has made this family stronger and appreciate one another warts and all, learn to compromise and grow up a bit even with Carla dying the scene between Ana and Bob where she made a point of saying you are still my family regardless that they were both estranged with Carla and given he was Dad number four and she didn’t live with him but there was still that sense of love and family there, but for a truly happy ending we all know that some characters will definitely need to address and delve into their inner self and the events that occurred in order for true closure and it won’t be an easy journey for some I am sure. Just because Linc et al are dead doesn’t mean their presence will ever be forgotten the internal scars will be there forever it’s again how you choose to deal with it will be paramount, I am looking at you Mia Grey and Carrick and Grace in stepping up here and dealing with it full on not putting a bandaid on the problem even the problem is hemorrhaging. I feel on the last outtake really proved that he is someone who doesn’t do well alone, even when he’s sleeping around he needs that sense of someone to care for him even if it’s a one night stand even if it’s for a few hours someone cared for him, Elliot needs reassurance that someone wants him, he comes off a stupid goofball but like Mia I think he uses stupid lame jokes to cover up a deeply insecure person. While I totally felt he didn’t need to justify marriage or children and I was his side because it’s not for everyone, I do think he was unfair to Kate as she made no secret that she wanted those things and with him. It will be interesting to see how Elliot deals with actually having to grow up now. But most importantly how he will deal with the fact he was so easily manipulated by Gia, even though she was pretending she made no secret she saw marriage on the cards and he let that go on for months until Elliot did the who stupid caveman thing and went all jealous not because he really loved her but my theory was he needs to be in a relationship to feel secure which is ironic when he didn’t want marriage with Kate. Though you have touched on the subject that really Elliot was pinning over Kate the whole time and Gia was aware of it which pissed her off that she her role was to be in a relationship with him, can you touch on why Elliot thought being with Gia so quickly after his split with Kate as Elliot practically was introducing him to his family considering they didn’t have anything in common except sex and he told Gia he loved her so quickly? I get Gia is the master manipulator but I was shocked Elliot was so pathetic especially when it was clear Gia was making a play for Christian right in front of nose.
Gah I’m stopping now! I am getting all crazy town myself!
You DO realize that you are starting to overanalyze things as much as me, right?
You bring up multiple points that had me thinking and re-thinking. First, with Leila, you see OBSESSION in my opinion and NOT love. After all, she filed a lawsuit that could ONLY hurt Christian personally AND financially as well as destroy his reputation. ALL to make him pay for not choosing her. That is NOT love—had she really loved Christian, then she would have at least found comfort in the fact that he was happy, even if it wasn’t with her.
AND the other thing about Leila was that she really BELIEVED Christian had been using those other hookers that Elena brought to the office. And even thinking that, she still wanted Christian. So Leila’s desire for CHristian always comes back to the MONEY and the places he could take her. Leila’s sole goal in accepting Lincoln’s offer was to hurt Anastasia and separate her from Christian which would have left Christian devastated. So I can’t EVER see Leila as really loving Christian. She NEVER really knew him—everything was castles in the sky of her own making.
But you also bring up something that I can’t help but want myself—-SO MANY more Outtakes from others’ perspective. You DO wonder how Andrew Lincoln every managed to convince SO MANY to join his endeavor. ESPECIALLY when he was a stranger to most. I mean, Leila OBVIOUSLY didn’t think things through—she was so petty and naive as to think someone would go to ALL THESE EXPENSIVE plans involving MULTIPLE individuals to JUST “hurt” Christian and separate him from Anastasia? Seriously?
I mean, you see from Billy’s comments that he hoped for steady employment in the criminal world to result from him “proving” himself to Andrew. Billy couldn’t even think things through and put the laptop back where he found it! And Hyun was clearly young, and once he realized how close he came to losing his life, he probably wanted out anyway. BUT Andrew’s show convinces everyone ELSE of just how dangerous he is.
But that makes me want Outtakes from Carla as well to see WHY she didn’t trust Christian to protect her over Andrew. I mean, her actions result in her losing her daughter AND her husband and leaving her isolated. EVEN THEN, she just tries to write Ana letters, knowing Ana most likely won’t read them. So I want Outttakes from Carla just to TRY to see her reasoning. At least with Mia, you see how truly SCARED she was and how her immature choices designed to get her money for school brought her into a world she had NO understanding of. BUT she should have had SOME inkling, given what she knew of Elena.
So you want to see inside the head of SO MANY and learn how Andrew got involved. AND just when GIA got involved in Andrew’s life to begin with. Gia felt she had reason to TRUST Andrew, and I just can’t see how she and Kommer could be okay with everything being asked of them. I mean, for 10 million, they were willing to do ANYTHING. And by DOING all the things they did, had Andrew chosen to screw them over with the money, who would they have gone to?
(AND I still would love this whole story from CHRISTIAN’S POV to see what he noticed and did not. There is SO MUCH I would love to hear from his point of view. I mean, he doesn’t even HESITATE to fly into a storm that has grounded all aviation pilots in the area in order to get to Ana. I can’t even IMAGINE what went through his head during the moments before Ana got out to him when he saw Hyun’s car in the side of the house. He had to know then that Ana might be without shelter, heat, food AND breathing in fumes, if not killed outright. AND Christian’s having to let Ana go back to Harvard each time, KNOWING this big threat was out there.)
So yeah, if I had my way, poor Tara would have to just re-write this story from the POV of so many others. But that would mean we NEVER would get to that fourth book. So, I will be happy with whatever Outtakes we get while secretly wishing for more. BUT I perfectly well understand why it took Tara a while to figure out just WHICH OUTTAKES to do. At this point, I could NEVER whittle down the list! Every Outtake makes me want STILL MORE to explain what was going on with others AND to see what an individual character did after the revelations regarding Andrew come out. I mean, I would love to know what efforts and plans Leila made to try to prevent her own demise. I want to hope that it AT LEAST was quick, but knowing Andrew, that was probably unlikely, ESPECIALLY at a time he was coming FURTHER unravelled and wanted to send a sign to OTHERS desperate to defect and distance themselves from him.
And yeah, I want to know Gia’s history, in theory. I think the answers, though, to explain her complete cold-blooded selfishness may be things I do NOT want to know or have swimming in my head. I mean, we already know what it took to create Elena. I think Gia may be WAY more like Elena than she ever thought about! And I want to know if Gia wanted to be there at the end when Andrew tried to take Ana and what her plans were. How could she think that she and Kommer would be untouchable? WHY did she feel she could trust her father? WHY did his approval mean so much to her, ESPECIALLY when it came at the price that it did? HOW did she not have a problem with the men in her life being comfortable pimping her out?
So every Outtake we get leads to more questions. BUT ELLIOT—Gia plays on him AND gets him BY SAYING that she doesn’t believe in marriage and ONLY wants sex. BUT OTHERS later tell Elliot that Gia communicates DIFFERENT things about her goals to others. And HOW could Elliot be blind to Gia’s attentions towards Christian and desire to put herself in situations ALONE with him. I mean, it takes only ONE lunch to make him suspicious? Yet EVERYTHING ELSE was right before his eyes? SERIOUSLY??? ANd Christian waited WAY too long to start watching Gia’s movements, as you see from this Outtake. If ONLY he would have been more cautious from the moment she entered Elliot’s life!
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Leila let her infatuation and puppy love/lust with Christian cause her to be nuttier than squirrel shit. She got herself into a predicament that ended her life (assuming it’s her blood on the necklace). Leila, at least, became slightly human (and with a heart) near the end. I don’t know if it was the fact that she was in over her head, and she knew it, or because Ana was pregnant. Either way, Leila’s behavior almost made me feel sorry she was killed. Especially, after she helped Ana get away in the alley.
Andrew Lincoln and Gia are a pair. I guess it never bothered Gia that her own father whored her out all for revenge (smh). We won’t even discuss Kommer’s lack of having balls. What man would be ok with his woman whoring herself out all for money? Gia was basically her father’s prostitute….hmmmm…..prostitutes aren’t worth that much. I’ll call Gia an escort, instead. I think escorts get way more money than prostitutes.
Love these outtakes. Will we get an outtake from Carla’s POV, too? The fact that any mother could betray their daughter is baffling to me. I get that Ana was heartbroken, at one point, but she still loved Christian. Carla should have butted out. It’s sad to say, but I think Carla’s fate would have been sealed whether she helped Lincoln, or not. He probably would have disposed of her, regardless just for turning him down 😦
So glad we know what happened at the end. This chapter is hard. Lincoln and Gia the most heartless. A lapse of judgement in Christian’s security to have Kommer in the team, God, he was closest especially to Ana. Glad he wasn’t allowed to touch Ana or worst could have happened. Gia wasn’t any better, she was first rate terminator. I can’t imagine Elliot’s reaction when found she was so merciless as well Christian’s. They allowed her in so many of their private events, celebrations and code to Escala!! For Elliot to think the murderer was so hot, sickening. Sorry not sorry about Leila. She asked for it. For starter Ana didn’t do anything to her except for Christian to love her to death. And no one especially Leila would have a chance with Christian, his love life is sealed with Ana. Thank you, Tara, for another great outtake and your time. You’re simply the best. Xoxo daytona
“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
– Anais Nin
“We mistake how we understand things for the way that they really are. Our thoughts and feelings seem real to us, so we conclude that they must be true.”
– Jack Grabon
“It’s too late to change your mind after you’ve jumped off the cliff.”
– Robert Jordan
“Do you know the difference between neurotics and psychotics?
Neurotics build castles in the sky; psychotics move into them.”
– Tanya Thompson
“He lives down in a ribcage in the dry leaves of a heart.”
– Thomas Harris
Hello, great chapter, but I don’t seem to be getting the alerts in my email
Lincoln is a scary MF! Leila is an idiot, which we all know but at least she did have a conscience in the end and didn’t hurt Ana while she was pregnant.